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Understanding New York State Mold Inspectors Procedures:Hiring an Experienced Mold Inspector Matters

Mold can be an issue that can affect the indoor air quality and structural integrity of buildings in Albany NY. In New York State specifically the Hudson, Albany and Saratoga areas, climate zone 5, where weather conditions can range from humid hot summers to sub zero cold winters, the potential for mold growth is significanlty higher compared to most regions within the United States. To address this concern, the state has established mold assessment procedures for licensed New York State mold inspectors. In the perfect world you would assume the procedures and licensing requirements set a high standard for licensed mold inspectors but unfortunately that is not the case. This article explores the importance of these mold inspection procedures but more importantly why hiring a mold inspector also known as a licensed mold assessor with general knowledge of construction science is crucial if not more important than the actual license requirements set forth by New York State in order to obtain a New York State Mold Inspectors License.

New York State Mold Assessment Procedures

New York State, recognizing the potential health hazards associated with mold, has implemented specific some regulations to govern mold assessment and mold remediation. The New York State Department of Labor outlines general procedures that New York State licensed mold assessors must follow when conducting assessments.

  1. Initial Assessment: The process typically begins with an initial mold assessment / inspection of the structure. A licensed mold assessor inspects the premises, identifying potential areas of concern and assessing the extent of mold growth.

  2. Sampling and Analysis: Mold inspectors may need to collect air and surface samples to determine the quantity of mold present. Most of the time mold inspectors do not need to take surface samples. The reason being is ANY indoor mold growth occurring is a health hazard. There are some mold inspectors who recommend surface samples in order to raise the price of the inspection. If the mold is visible there is not a need for surface sampling as presence of indoor mold is a health issue. On the other hand indoor air quality testing may be needed. If mold is not visible and the occupant thinks mold is present – indoor air quality can confirm the presence of mold. If mold is present further assessing of suspect areas should be performed.

  3. Report Generation: A mold assessment report is generated based on information gathered during the mold inspection, detailing and outlining the findings of the mold inspection. This report includes information on the location and extent of mold growth, potential sources of moisture, and recommendations for mold remediation. In some scenarios – for example if moisture intrusion and or flood ing is the underlning cause of the presence of mold, a drainage specialist must come in to assess the drainage issues and correct the deficiencies according to the professionals recommendations.

  4. Remediation Protocol: If mold is identified, the assessor may develop a remediation protocol. This document outlines the steps to be taken to eliminate the mold and prevent its recurrence. One fo the mst important aspects of the mold remediation process is correcting the underlining cause(s).

The Importance of General Knowledge of Construction

While a mold inspectors primary focus is on mold assessment - having a general knowledge of construction is invaluable for several reasons. A mold inspectors knowledge on various subjects that relate too the underlining cause of the presence of mold may assist the home owner with choosing the right correct action and prevent a specialist from OVER selling a correct method for the underlining cause,

  1. Identification of Construction Flaws: A mold assessor with construction knowledge can identify structural issues, drainage issues, ventilation defects and or design flaws that contribute to moisture problems and mold growth. For example: instead of requiring a drainage system for a basement that is subject to moisture intrusion, a recommendation of gutters, regrading of the soil and gutter extensions may suffice. The corrective action of gutters and grading can be 1/8th of the cost of a drainage system!

  2. Understanding Building Materials: Different construction materials react differently to moisture and mold. Knowledge of construction materials can assist a mold assessor and their determination to identify areas where mold is likely to occur and recommend appropriate mold remediation strategies. A prime example and costly issue that we have seen when performing mold inspections is the mis-identification of walls that may contain moisture. Foil faced insulation (insulation that contains a metal component) can set off a moisture meter giving a false reading of moisture levels. A mold inspector may write up a basement wall for containing elevated moisture levels and recommend opening up the walls to inspect further, only to find out the foil faced insulation set off the moisture meter. This can be a costly mistake!

  3. Assessment of Ventilation Systems, Thermal Bridging and Humidity Levels: Proper ventilation is essential for preventing mold growth. A mold assessor with construction knowledge can evaluate ventilation systems to ensure they meet industry standards, identifying areas where improvements may be needed. Typically, ventilation complications occur in the attic. The soffit vents may become clogged and or the ridge vent may collapse restricting prper ventilation. Thermal bridging occurs in the attic space when the humid moist air within the habitable space below leaks in to the attic causing condensation on lumber within the attic. Thermal bridging occurs when the attic floor insulation is inadequate. Elevated humidity levels usually occurs within the basement. Moisture passes through foundation walls and contribute to the overall humidity levels. If the basement is not prone to flooding a dehumidifier may be required to reduce humidity levels below 50%. Humidity levels within a basement that exceed 60% can create a conducive environment for mold growth

  4. Collaboration with Contractors: When mold remediation is required, a mold inspector with construction knowledge can communicate effectively with contractors. This collaboration ensures that the mold remediation efforts align with construction best practices. Additionally the mold inspector may advise the home owner of any dishonest recommendations that may occur.

In New York State, mold assessment procedures are crucial for maintaining healthy indoor environments. Hiring a mold inspector with general knowledge of construction can best protect the buyer of a home or a home owner. By hiring a mold inspector who excels in construction science can create an effective mold assessment and by reviewing the recommendations by specialists to determine if the corrective action recommended by specialists will prevent future mold growth.

If you are seeking a reputable, knowledgable mold inspector within the Albany NY, Saratoga NY or Hudson NY area please give us a call. Our knowledge in construction science can assist you with your mold complications.



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